Use Libby app hands-free with Google Assistant

Try the Libby actions for Google Assistant (see video), available for some Android mobile devices and Google Home speakers:

  1. Be sure your device responds to your voice. Try saying "Hey Google, what's today's weather?" If your device doesn't respond, set up Google Assistant. You might also need to check that the phone is unlocked and no settings are blocking the device's ability to respond (for example, a battery saver setting might turn off a phone's voice activation). If your phone doesn't respond to "Hey Google" at first, you might have to tap the microphone once in Google Assistant to wake it.
  2. Say "Hey Google, talk to Libby." Google Assistant will activate the voice command interface of the Libby app. For subsequent commands to Libby, you don't need to say "Hey Google" before the command.
  3. When Libby engages, it will prompt you for the commands you can use, such as play trivia, get a recommendation, or look for a book. 
  4. To borrow, you will set up a connection between the Libby app and your Google Assistant. When prompted for the setup code, use the Libby app menu to enter "Set up Libby" and get your code.
  5. After you input the code, you can borrow or place holds with voice commands.

Tips:

  • Wait for the tone that signals that it's your turn to talk. If you interrupt while Libby is speaking, your command might not be recognized. If Libby cannot process your commands, Libby will probably end the conversation on you. Start over with "Hey Google talk to Libby" and pay attention to the prompts, including the tone for your input.
  • A search resulting in multiple titles will show on screen, and you will probably have to look at the list. Pick from a list by saying "the second one." (I have not yet tried this on a screenless speaker. I'll update this article after I find out how that goes.)
  • Skip words that you can't pronounce well. For example, Libby doesn't understand when I say "Colm Tóibín" but it works if I just pronounce "toybin."
  • If a title is available, the command prompts are "borrow the ebook" or "borrow the audiobook." The commands are "place hold on ebook/audiobook" if there's a wait.
  • If you have borrowed an audiobook, you'll be tempted to command the system to start playing it. It can't do that yet. Use the Libby app to play, and try sending the audio to speakers over a connection such as Bluetooth or Chromecast.
  • The Libby app is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to improve safety while driving. Remember the new state hands-free law.

As soon as I know anything about voice support through other digital assistants (Alexa or Siri), I'll add that information to this article.